Saturday, September 26, 2020

Proof that counting calories works for weight loss

It's pretty clear that energy in-energy out dictates weight loss and gain, with the exception of medication side effects and certain pathological conditions. But I lived in denial for a long time that I was the reason for my inability to lose weight, or to maintain any weight loss I did achieve. 

I wrote about my own struggles with weight and how I lost 75 pounds on a calorie restriction diet at Medium. 

It hasn't been easy, and I am still struggling to make the changes permanent. But for those who are struggling, I hope my journey gives you a little hope that it is possible to succeed.

I did a lot of reading about calorie restriction diets before jumping in a few years ago and the exercise regimen I used was, and is, light - walking and simple yoga stretches. Be sure to discuss any potential heart, joint, or muscle problems with your doctor before starting an exercise regimen, as well as any supplements you may need for whatever diet you choose to adapt.

Dieting is only temporary, but lifestyle changes in how you approach nutrition can make any gains permanent.

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Advice for uncertainty

Photo by hannah grace on Unsplash


I have been writing over at various Medium publications about my freelancing career, particularly the scientific editing aspect. 

If you're currently in graduate school or working as a postdoc, you should know that skipping a postdoc isn't wrong. If you're looking for a way to stay in academics without relying on academia, you can read about how I freelanced between jobs and made it a career at The Innovation. I also offer The Beginner's Guide to Academic Freelancing at The Faculty to help you decide what may work for you.

If you've already made a step towards working in scientific, or other, editing, I offer Eight Simple Tips for Being a Reliable Proofreader at The Startup.

You can stay in science by pursuing a non-traditional career, whether in a supportive capacity (e.g., editor) or forging your own way. Expertise is earned only by trying. Use your strengths to get where you want to be rather than worry about pre-determined routes. 

If 2020 is any indication, there's a new normal. Why stay stuck in the old one?

Saturday, September 19, 2020

The unrealized potential of treating disease at a personal level - the mythos of personalized medicine

Photo by National Cancer Institute on Unsplash

Originally published at Medium in August 2020.

By Alicia M Prater, PhD (Aliconia Publishing) 

When I was a graduate student, my advisor would light up when explaining how our work was going to lead to personalized medicine. We were working on understanding the genetics underlying hypertension. The idea was that by knowing which gene polymorphism a person has, the doctor would know which class of drugs would have an effect on their blood pressure and correct the derangement.

Friday, September 18, 2020

Symptoms and treatment of lithium overdose


Lithium capsules. James Heilman, MD, CC4.0 license

Lithium, the third element of the period table of chemical elements, is a soft metal pharmaceutically altered for use to treat bipolar disorder since the 1800s. 

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Dealing with the Minutiae of Covid

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

  Originally published at Medium in July 2020

By Alicia M Prater, PhD (Aliconia Publishing)

I can’t escape catching the headlines, and in my field of work this includes the latest scientific findings and the details of current medical concerns. So when a novel coronavirus started to make its way around the world, I noticed. When European countries started shutting down and Americans started dying, I noticed. When the timelines for my social media networks started to be obituary-heavy, I shut down and cried.

It was only April. 

Monday, September 14, 2020

Moving forward

This blog has been an off and on endeavor for more than a decade. As has the Maeflowers brand as a whole. As of 2019, this blog became the full-time landing page for, and the mission was simplified - to share truthful and factual information with educated and honest commentary.

In 2020, Maeflowers was brought under the Aliconia Publishing umbrella. The fact sheets and learning resources originally planned for Maeflowers have a home at the Aliconia site as part of the Just the Facts-Long-lasting Curriculum series. 

In the short-term, this blog is being cleaned up and updated, with posts restarting fresh with interesting facts and relevant discussions. The social media accounts remain the same. In the long-term, the commentary will be syndicated to a Medium publication and integrated into other forms, both digital and physical, to accompany the Curriculum series as appropriate.

This is the perfect opportunity to organize a collective of free information to help students learning from home, regardless of their age. One of Aliconia Publishing's common sentiments on social media is #readmorebooks, and Maeflowers is here to help anyone following that advice discover new avenues of learning.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

OTC painkillers - are we taking too many?

Ibuprofen tablets. Ragesoss, CC3.0 license

A study published in the journal Pharmacoepidemiology & Drug Safety in January 2018 found that people are taking too much ibuprofen.

Ibuprofen is part of a group of drugs known as NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs). Another popular over-the-counter NSAID is naproxen. They are generally used to treat pain, often chronically. Another well known pain killer that is not an NSAID is acetaminophen, more popularly known by its brand name Tylenol (which is manufactured by the company that sponsored this study).

NSAIDs do have side effects, especially if the daily dose limit is exceeded. The drugs act to reduce inflammation, which has effects on blood pressure, the heart, liver, and kidneys. And it's important to follow dosing guidelines, as they've been established based on toxicity studies.

However, the study authors were quoted in the New York Post as recommending NSAIDs become prescription only, pushing acetaminophen as a safer option (though that drug has liver toxicity and a known history of being pulled from shelves). It's a bit of an extreme conclusion based on a single week of self-reporting and limited findings. For example, less than 10% of subjects recorded exceeding the dose with NSAIDs, and they also exceeded the dosing on other drugs they took in that same time period at near the same levels.

So maybe the conclusion should be that we need to communicate dosing better, or find better pain killers in general, rather than limit the availability of what currently works for people. And because of the conflicts of interest regarding the sponsorship of the work, this study just comes across as industry shill.